Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pie Fail

I’ve been in a slump recently.  I must admit, these last few weeks have resulted in some epic fails in the kitchen. When that happens I tend to lose my temper and begin to throw stuff (equipment, food, etc.) around the kitchen.  I also then decide not to eat dinner but to have multiple glasses of wine instead.
Joe really enjoys it when that happens.

Case in point, I decided to use up some of the frozen fruit from last summer that is residing in my freezer.  I had a bunch of frozen strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries and raspberries.  So I figured that a strawberry-rhubarb pie would be very nice for dessert on Easter.  In fact, I have a lovely recipe for strawberry-rhubarb pie that I came up with a few years ago, that I wanted to try and make again. 
I got out my bags of frozen strawberries and rhubarb, added them to a sauce pan and began to cook them.  I thought this would help release some of the juices and extra water from being freezer-burned.  Nope, I got juice.  Just straight juice.  The strawberries completely disappeared and I had a saucepan full of liquid.  So I added some corn starch and let it bubble.  Then I added some fresh sliced strawberries.  Nothing.  I had a bright pink warm fruit soup.
So then I turned my attentions to the crust. It was perfect.  Figures. The one time I actually manage to crush the cookies fine enough and not add too much butter, my filling is what doesn’t turn out.
Not to be deterred, I decided to add egg yolks to the mixture hoping that when I baked it, it would turn into a custard. I poured the watery mess into my crust, shut the oven door and proceeded to pace around the kitchen for the next 45 minutes.  I opened the oven door approximately 40 times, which I am sure helped in the cooking process.
I reported back to Joe every time I peeked at the pie, “I think it’s gonna work!” Five minutes later, “It’s not going to work.” Another 2 minutes later, “I think it might just work!”  As you can see I was delightful on Easter Sunday. 

After the crust started to turn dark brown, I knew I needed to take the pie out and hope for the best.  It wasn’t jiggly, so I took that as a good sign.  But I fell asleep with a full belly of Easter dinner before we could try the pie.  Which I should have taken as a bad sign (for the pie that is).
The next day, after dinner I cut into my pretty pink mess and it slumped all over my pie server.  It failed.

But it tasted ok, and I have not gotten sick from it.  So I’ll take this as not quite an epic fail, just a normal sized fail.

Spiced Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie with Gingersnap Crust
Don’t worry this is the original pie recipe, and if you use fresh fruit your results will be much better. 


25-30 Gingersnaps
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
¼ c. butter, melted


1 c. slice rhubarb (about ¼” thick)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 Tb flour

Preheat oven to 350°.  Pulse the gingersnaps in a food processor to begin to crush.  Add sugar and flour, continue pulsing. Drizzle in melted butter until the crumbs have all changed to a darker color (moistened from the butter). 

Press the crumbs firmly into a pie plate, spreading evenly.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is fragrant and crumbs are no longer loose.  Cool crust slightly.

While the crust bakes, combine rhubarb, strawberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook for about 5 minutes to release some moisture.  Add spices and remove from heat.  Toss filling with the 2 Tablespoons of flour.  Pour mixture into crust and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Let pie cool to set about 2 hours. 

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